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Old 07-06-2013, 11:56   #1
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Sailing the BVIs in the off season with two young kids!

Any one with experience pleeeease comment

We are proud new owners of our 53' Alden Cheoy Lee located in the BVI's Virgin Gorda. My husband has been down to do the survey, etc., however we now intend on flying down from Canada to 'test the waters' so to say. We will be staying on land close by the Marina for the first and last weeks with plans on taking her out for two weeks in between.

Any hints on things I should keep in mind, take note, etc., having a 11 month old and 3 year old in tote?
The same goes for being down there in the off season, please comment.

Thank you,
Looking forward to our life aboard Shell Belle
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Old 07-06-2013, 12:37   #2
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Re: Sailing the BVIs in the off season with two young kids!

Welcome aboard Shell Belle! Congrats for the new boat! Besides hurricanes/weather worries, you need to be close to major medical centers; should your youngest one requires attention. From the BVI to the Grenadines and beyond, you have some of the greatest sailing waters. Most Caribbean guide books will point out to major medical centers in every island; plan your island-hoping accordingly. It might be difficult to find some fresh fruits and vegetables in some islands; check for Saturdays farmer's markets. Purchase a Caribbean guide book; a must have. Let us know how your trip is progressing. Sail away!
Mauritz
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Old 07-06-2013, 13:32   #3
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Re: Sailing the BVIs in the off season with two young kids!

Congratulations on your new boat!

I've sailed the BVI for over 40 years, and most of that was in the "off season", i.e., summer. That was because the kids were out of school and that's when we programmed our home leave. Our stays in the BVI ranged from several weeks to two months at a time.

I also based my own Cheoy Lee 42' sloop there for 11 years, and spent a lot of time aboard both summer and winter.

Summer:

- winds tend to be lighter than winter and blow more from the E and ESE;

- though the average temperature only varies about 5 degrees winter to summer, summer can feel much hotter, especially in windless marinas;

- anchorages tend to be much more comfortable than marinas, and it's best to seek those where the wind can blow freely to cool the boat down;

- medical services in the BVI are very basic; much better in the USVI and, of course, in Puerto Rico;

- distances are relatively short and you can pick the type of sailing you want to do; you don't have to go far to find good spots with lots to do;

- many good restaurants these days; food stores are well stocked but a bit more expensive than North America;

- it will take one to two weeks to settle in and get into the rhythm of the islands; after that, no matter how long you stay it will be too short!

Have fun with the new boat,

Bill
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Old 11-06-2013, 09:25   #4
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Re: Sailing the BVIs in the off season with two young kids!

Thank you for the replies

We are quite excited to be there in the 'off season' just to get a feel for her. We'll be back down after our last Christmas in Canada for a while at least.

As far as medical services, I hope to have a well equipped Medical Kit/Pharmacy. I will be a soon retired Paramedic and hope the skill don't leave me once I park my Ambulance Plus thinking about eventually doing the Oceanmedix course once on her full-time in hopes I can offer help to our crew and other boaters out there.

Looking forward to our cruising adventures as a family
Cheers
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Old 11-06-2013, 10:36   #5
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Re: Sailing the BVIs in the off season with two young kids!

Yo should keep in mind Hurricanes!!! Congratz for your new boat .....
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Old 11-06-2013, 16:52   #6
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Re: Sailing the BVIs in the off season with two young kids!

Thank you, if they move as slow as a Canadian Blizzard then I'm sure we'll have time to leave or hunker down
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Old 11-06-2013, 17:26   #7
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Re: Sailing the BVIs in the off season with two young kids!

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Originally Posted by Shell Belle View Post
Thank you, if they move as slow as a Canadian Blizzard then I'm sure we'll have time to leave or hunker down

Well i guess you are new in the hurricanes matter, leave the bvi with a hurricane aproaching is a no no, there is some holes to hide in bvi in case of storms warning but dont expect to be alone, charter boats and other summer creatures fill this refuges at first warning, you have Puerto Rico as a better option or st marteen , but in any case Hurricanes do whatever want to do , so be ready for the worst and hope for the best , a last minute haul out can be a good option to,and with kids onboard take any precaution seriously, can be a good season or a bad one, who know, just get info where to go or hide in case of storm warnings, cheers...
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Old 17-06-2013, 03:39   #8
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Getting a new boat with a 11 mo and a 3 yo? You're brave we got ours when ours was 5 mo and it's been an adventure. Thoughts off top of my head:

Make sure that your kids float in their life jackets the right side up (test in a pool or bathtub). Consider getting harnesses and tethers for them for when they're topside. The life jacket we got has a built in harness, so it makes it easy to pass her to and from the dinghy.

We're with a 11 mo only and it's a challenge! the boat is not baby proofed yet and she's very active and curious, so i constantly have to be near her. Babyproofing is in the plans, but more pressing matters with the boat are taking precedence over baby stuff for now. For those emergencies, when I can't look after her and need to help my so (or single handle) I have a baby Bjorn chair that I strap her into. Lots of complaints but at least she's safe while I'm busy with boat stuff.

The are two things on the boat that she can reach that she already knows NEVER to touch: windlass and winches. I've heard of too many adult accidents with torn fingers and hands... If you have a baby monitor and the boat has an inverter, bring it with you.

I do carry a full med kits with prescription meds, nebulizer, gastro tube, diag kit, sutures, etc. and have permission to call her nurse and paed at any time if I'm not sure about something. Also did some training and have very detailed instructions from them on what to look for, what use when, etc. and i carry a handbook of paediatrics for symptom and dosage checking as i heard stories of babies and kids being prescribed adult meds or adult dosages in some med centres. You're in much better spot being a paramedic. Are you vaxing?

It would be lovely to keep in touch.

Sorry for typos, I'm on iPad.
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Old 17-06-2013, 04:31   #9
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I loved having the anchorages all to myself for a summer, it gives you chance to do all the good places before the crowds arrive.

I had organised a spot at nanny key for my hurricane hole, it seems protected as good if not better than any marina around there. didn't need to use it. Few! There was also a spot where they hide all the charter boats but that was very hard to organise a position in.

you can get a good usb Internet stick (can't remember company) that works all around bvi so you can stay up to date with the weather in your private anchorage.
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Old 17-06-2013, 05:08   #10
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You can get a 4g Internet dongle from Digicelbvi.com and you can also get AT&T service in some parts of North Sound and other spots around the Islands.
Good medical facilities at Doctor on Call in Charlotte Amalie, St.Thomas, and B&F medical in Tortola.
Good website with a lot of useful information about moving to the area Bvinewbie.com
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Old 27-06-2013, 12:54   #11
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Re: Sailing the BVIs in the off season with two young kids!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiusha View Post
Getting a new boat with a 11 mo and a 3 yo? You're brave we got ours when ours was 5 mo and it's been an adventure. Thoughts off top of my head:

Make sure that your kids float in their life jackets the right side up (test in a pool or bathtub). Consider getting harnesses and tethers for them for when they're topside. The life jacket we got has a built in harness, so it makes it easy to pass her to and from the dinghy.

We're with a 11 mo only and it's a challenge! the boat is not baby proofed yet and she's very active and curious, so i constantly have to be near her. Babyproofing is in the plans, but more pressing matters with the boat are taking precedence over baby stuff for now. For those emergencies, when I can't look after her and need to help my so (or single handle) I have a baby Bjorn chair that I strap her into. Lots of complaints but at least she's safe while I'm busy with boat stuff.

The are two things on the boat that she can reach that she already knows NEVER to touch: windlass and winches. I've heard of too many adult accidents with torn fingers and hands... If you have a baby monitor and the boat has an inverter, bring it with you.

I do carry a full med kits with prescription meds, nebulizer, gastro tube, diag kit, sutures, etc. and have permission to call her nurse and paed at any time if I'm not sure about something. Also did some training and have very detailed instructions from them on what to look for, what use when, etc. and i carry a handbook of paediatrics for symptom and dosage checking as i heard stories of babies and kids being prescribed adult meds or adult dosages in some med centres. You're in much better spot being a paramedic. Are you vaxing?

It would be lovely to keep in touch.

Sorry for typos, I'm on iPad.

Thank you for your reply,

We have some friends around here that do some seasonal sailing with young ones which does help with tricks of the trade A girlfriend had an old car seat she fastened to the cockpit area while underway. (no offshore passages). For our trip this summer our youngest will be turning 1 while we are on the boat and is our biggest concern as the three y/o is starting to take direction quite well but is still not trustworthy safety wise

I have a 'First Years' portable booster seat with a three point harness for maybe down in the galley area as well as a Airplane C.A.R.E.S. five point harness that maybe can attached to the nav chair, along with that we have purchased sailing harness with tethers for the two. I was thinking of taking a quick peek around for an old car seat while there but might just try to fix something up with what we have.

The boat is not child proof however the last owners had her for well over 20 years and pampered her. No inverter until next trip after Christmas so she'll be attached to me 24/7 however might bring a small one just for a monitor.

A lot of things to think about when cruising with kids! However I have to remember that is to be an enjoyable experience and not worry about everything! We'll get a good feel for it on this trip and I will get a better idea of what I need to do to prepare. We are sticking close by to land that does have basic medical care and just hope I can deal with any form of an 'emergency'!

Keep me posted on how your 'baby proofing' is going?
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Old 27-06-2013, 14:23   #12
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Re: Sailing the BVIs in the off season with two young kids!

You might want to opt for cargo netting on your lifelines, you can get it from companies like Seattle Fabrics Mesh for Clothing, Bags, Screening and more!

(Usual disclaimers, I have no connection etc.)

It is important to remember that putting cargo nets on you lifelines will stop a toddler or knee nipper from sliding over the side of the boat, but if they can climb, they can get over it in a flash and make an unwelcome splash.

They also carry many kinds of UV (and insect) resistant mesh products that let the light and cool breezes in and keep the UV rays out. Ideal for that tender young skin.
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Old 27-06-2013, 14:42   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shell Belle View Post

Keep me posted on how your 'baby proofing' is going?
Our next step in baby proofing was to relocate all fire extinguishers to where they would be easily accessible in an emergency in correct zones, but not by a baby. Didn't think of it earlier, only after she almost worked the safety pin out of the trigger mechanism :S

It would be very nice to hear how these two weeks will go for you. And congratulations on the coming birthday! Also a July baby?
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Old 04-07-2013, 10:34   #14
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Re: Sailing the BVIs in the off season with two young kids!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiusha View Post
Our next step in baby proofing was to relocate all fire extinguishers to where they would be easily accessible in an emergency in correct zones, but not by a baby. Didn't think of it earlier, only after she almost worked the safety pin out of the trigger mechanism :S

It would be very nice to hear how these two weeks will go for you. And congratulations on the coming birthday! Also a July baby?

August baby Cannot wait to celebrate on Shell Belle and attempt some form of a cake onboard

As far as PFD's...I tried or standard Canadian Infant 20-30 lbs on our littlest, ekk not a comfortable fit so there was no floating her about in the pool. Will keep my eyes open for a different brand and/or more comfortable fit. What do you use for your wee one?

Still working on ideas for securing her while being underway, will keep you posted on our first attempt!

Cheers
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Old 04-07-2013, 13:18   #15
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Re: Sailing the BVIs in the off season with two young kids!

Three things: SUN, HUMIDITY, and Flying Insects.

We own a house in the BVI and often have guests. By far the three top complaints we get from guests that bring young children/babies are the three that I mentioned.

Bring a TON of baby and child safe suntan spray. The spray you can buy there is about $12-$18 a can and for a small one. You can shop around for cheaper down there but by the time you add you time and cash looking for it, its adds up to $15 a can. Also, be sure to bring wide-brimmed hats for everyone. The summer BVI sun is brutal made worse by the bright white sand and water reflecting the rays.

The humidity can cause diaper rash in a BIG way very very fast. Lots of Destin and other humidity protection. Also, for adults... I personally like things very very dry down there and constantly fight keeping it dry since we spend so much time in the water and in wet bathing suits.

Mosquitos... bring a mosquito / no-see-um net.... you may not need it where you are staying but when you DO need it for your kids, you won't regret it. They are cheap and easy protection. Mosquitos LOVE babies. My nephew once woke up with over a hundred bites one day.

Drink LOTS of water and encourage you family to do the same. At least a liter or two a day.

BTW - I agree with the Marina thing... get out and away as soon as possible, marina's are hot and buggy unless you have AC. If you have AC you can take a break in between. The new marina up at Scrub island is awesome and situated very nicely.

The temp and humidity drop fast in the winter. When we go down over xmas, we often have to wear sweatshirts and jeans during the xmas winds. The water can be downright cold... don't let the summer heat char your BVI experience.
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